Inflammation in itself is not really bad. In fact it’s the body’s natural and healthy way of preserving itself. However, when too many pro-inflammatory catalysts have built up, chronic inflammation happens which causes the body to stay in “defense mode” all the time, which in turn, can lead to symptoms like bloating, headaches and foggy thinking.
Below you’ll find four of the biggest sources of inflammation along with some information on what you can do about them.
4) Processed Sugar And Carbohydrates
Excess insulin will always equal to inflammation. It’s as simple as that. Whenever there is a spike in your blood sugar levels, your pancreas will produce a surge of insulin, activating in the process pro-inflammatory agents called cytokines. These blood sugar spikes are usually triggered by processed sugars and high glycemic load (GL) foods like refined carbohydrates. Countless studies have concluded that a low GL diet is the way to go if you want your body to produce less inflammatory biomarkers.
An effective way to avoid excess insulin production is to lessen sugar intake. Start by tracking your sugar intake for a day then halving your consumption the next day. Your aim should be consuming just about 25 grams or less in a day.
3) Omega-6 Oils
Omega fatty acids are crucial for the health of our bones, skin, metabolism and brain. It’s when the ratio of omega-3s relative to omega-6s go bonkers that we become inflamed. To put it simply, the more we consume omega-3s, the less omega-6 will be available to tissues to produce inflammation. In other words, a diet rich in omega-6 and low in omega-3 will increase inflammation while a diet rich in omega-3 and low in omega-6 will decrease inflammation.
Omega-6 oils are usually found in trans fats, grain-fed meat and dairy, processed foods and vegetable oils like sunflower, saltflower and soybean.
What you should do: Instead of using vegetable and canola oils, switch to coconut, grapeseed and avocado oil.
2) Mental Stress
Psychological stress can not only trigger your body’s inflammatory response, it can also genetically alter your immune cells to fight any perceived threat. The reason for this is that the major stress hormone known as cortisol plays a big role in the regulation of inflammation.
One way to counter mental stress is to set aside time in your schedule for moments of calm and stillness. Taking five minutes each day to breathe in and out can make a lot of difference. Studies have shown that the simple act of focusing on your breathing can decrease brain stress.
1) Body Stress
Just like mental stress, physical stress can also activate inflammation. Sacrificing sleep or pushing your body’s limits during a gym workout can induce inflammation the same way as stubbing your toe against a hard surface will. Experts believe that long cardio sessions may negatively affect thyroid function as well as increase cortisol production. On the other hand, interval training has been shown to increase human growth hormone and slow down aging, thereby reducing inflammation.
Studies have also shown that lack of sleep can not only weaken your immune system, it also screws up your hormones and makes you crave carbs and sugar, which can all lead to inflammation.
Sufficient sleep allows your immune system to recharge so make sure that you get an average of eight to nine hours of sleep each night. Incorporate interval training into your exercise routine and make sure that you give your body some rest days for its recovery.